East – West Cultural Tour

The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land.


Trip Overview

Day 01: Arrive Paro
Day 02: Paro – Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu
Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 05: Punakha – Trongsa
Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang
Day 08: Bumthang – Mongar
Day 09: Mongar – Trashigang
Day 10: Trashigang – Tashi Yangtse – Mongar
Day 11: Mongar – Bumthang
Day 12: Bumthang – Wangdue
Day 13: Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro
Day 14: Paro – Paro
Day 15: Paro – Airport

Full Itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive Paro (By Druk Air)
    The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Chhundu Travel & Tours will greet you on arrival, and then drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel.

    Day 02: Paro – Thimphu
    Today in the morning we spent exploring the Paro. The first stop is Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds. (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action. We then drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m).
    After lunch we depart for the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Dinner and overnight at The Hotel.

    Day 03: Thimphu
    The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium, which has all types of Bhutanese handicrafts for sale.
    Overnight at the Hotel.

    Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha
    Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. We take a stroll through the small town and view the Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. The dzong is open to visitors only in summer when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body are in Thimphu. Lunch at Hotel Zangtopelri in Punakha. In the afternoon visit the home of a local family for a close up view of everyday Bhutanese life.
    Overnight at the Hotel.

    Day 05: Punakha – Trongsa
    The drive to Trongsa takes approximately 5 hours. We start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. We pass Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass (3,300 m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. We stop near the pass for the packed lunch. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomolhari (7,314 m) to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon.
    Overnight at Trongsa Lodge.

    Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang
    After breakfast we go out to view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. We visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower, above the main dzong, which has an interesting display of Mongol armour, and then explore the quaint town of Trongsa. We then drive to Bumthang valley (described as “ one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla pass (3,400 m).
    Overnight at Bumthang Lodge.

    Day 07: Bumthang
    After breakfast we drive through the picturesque valley of Bumthang to visit the sacred sights, shrines and monuments. We also view the Jakar Dzong (Castle of the White Bird) and observe the famous Bumthang Yatha (woollen cloth) being woven. In the afternoon we visit the woodcraft centre followed by a stroll through the interesting town of Bumthang.

    Day 08: Bumthang – Mongar
    After an early breakfast, we drive to Mongar (198 kms) which takes 8 hours. At a distance of 42 kilometres from Bumthang, the road reaches the Ura Shelthangla, where there is a magnificent view in clear view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkar Puensum (7,500 m). The road then descends into Ura valley by long loops across fields and pastures. Ura’s main occupations raising sheep, yaks and the introduction of potato farming has brought a certain degree of prosperity of people. At the far end of the Ura valley, the road starts to climb towards the highest pass in Bhutan, Thrumshingla (3,800 m). The mountains of eastern Bhutan can be seen in clear weather. From the pass, along the highway, the road begins a dizzying descent passing through semi-tropical forests of bamboo and liana before reaching Kuri Chu river. In the early evening we arrive at Mongar. Packed lunch will be served en route.
    Overnight at the Mongar Lodge.

    Day 09: Mongar – Trashigang
    After breakfast we visit Mongar Dzong which houses the local monastic community and the District Administrative offices. Mongar is the first town, which is built on a mountainside instead of in a valley. The valleys are usually little more than riverbeds and the mountain slopes, which rise abruptly from the rivers, flatten out as they approach their summits.

    We then drive 4 hours to Tashigang, away over the Korila pass (2,450-m). We check in to the Tourist Lodge and refresh ourselves. After lunch, we set out to view the Tashigang Dzong and stroll through the bustling town. This is a relatively relaxed day to recuperate from the long drive from Bumthang to Mongar.
    Overnight at the Tourist Lodge.

    Day 10: Trashigang – Tashi Yangtse – Mongar
    After an early breakfast, we drive for two hours to Tashi Yangtse (the nation’s nineteenth and most recently created, district) and the impressive monument of Chorten Kora. This whitewashed monument is uniquely constructed in the Nepalese style and is the site of a great annual religious festival drawing devotees from all over Bhutan and neighbouring India. We also view the Tashi Yangtse Dzong. Packed lunch is served on one of the many inviting spots along our route. From Tashi Yangtse, we drive straight to Mongar.
    Dinner and overnight at the Mongar Tourist Lodge.

    Day 11: Mongar – Bumthang
    Overnight in Bumthang

    Day 12: Bumthang – Wangdue
    The drive takes about 7 hours via Trongsa and Wangdue. Pack lunch will be served at convenient spot.
    Dinner and overnight at Guest house in Wangdue.

    Day 13: Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro
    After breakfast we return over the Dochula Pass to Thimphu. The drive will pass by the Mendegang village. Lunch at the hotel in Thimphu. After shopping for souvenirs we depart for Paro.
    Overnight at Hotel Druk, Paro.

    Day 14: Paro – Paro
    After breakfast drive to the base camp of the famous Taktsang Monestary where you will start the 5-6hrs hike to Taktsang Monestary. Lunch will be served at the Cafeteria at the half way point on your way back from Taktsang. Please note that lunch will be all vegetarian dishes only.

    Day 15: Paro – Airport
    In the morning our escort will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell at Paro airport.
    Good Luck and Tashi Delek.

    * The travellers has the option of exiting Bhutan via Gauhati (Assam) in India

    Note: This itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants, etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the trail. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being.

Contact Info

Chhundu Travel & Tours
Gatoen Lam,
P.O Box # 149
Thimphu Bhutan
Tel: +975-2-322592 / 322547
Mobile: +975-1711-2547